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Thursday, 21 July 2022

REVIEW: Sh!t-faced Shakespeare presents: Romeo and Juliet at The Leicester Square Theatre

Shitfaced Shakespeare is a Shakespeare company with a twist and a stumble that has been luring audiences since 2010 with a simple yet effective concept. Each night, one selected cast member from whatever show they are putting on, is made to drink for 4 hours before stepping on the stage and the curtain rises. The rule is that they must be well and truly ‘shit-faced’ by this point. The remaining ‘sober' cast members are then required to accommodate their inebriated peer by justifying and improvising around them and also to continue to drive the action of the ‘actual’ play. It could be a comedy or tragedy being performed, but the drinking game, as it were, remains the same. 

For my first experience of a Shitfaced Shakespeare performance, I went to see their un-holy latest take on Romeo & Juliet and my lucky drunk was none other than Juliet herself. As a comedy show having originally found its feet in the fringe scene, this is a pared-down version of the classic but keeps in all the much-loved key scenes of the play like the balcony scene, death of Mercutio and final death scene. Along with the five actors, the show also incorporates a compare into the mix to help the drunken proceedings along. This is done mainly by making sure the inebriated actor stays that way by handing them more drinks (with help from the audience). Overall the show, also, takes artistic liberties to promote more bawdy and comedy-driven antics. 

Monday, 17 May 2021

REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet by Creation Theatre, in partnership with Watford Palace Theatre (Online)

In 2020 Rob Myles curated the complete works of Shakespeare over several months on a weekly basis with actors around the world in their homes (The Show must go Online) and made them available for free on YouTube. It was fascinating to see how their technique evolved and improved using zoom technology over the weeks. Creation Theatre, in partnership with Watford Palace Theatre, have taken this idea a step forward (or perhaps backwards) with their innovative 'choose your own adventure' style adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet directed by Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Associate Natasha Rickman. It proclaims it is “an expansive multi-platform digital production”. In practice, it is a mess and rather like having a nightmare about a drug-fuelled rave with 105 (on this occasion) voyeurs watching.

It is a game of two halves. In the first half, we join the story either as Capulets or Montagues and by the look of it the voyeurs split roughly fifty: fifty as we watch our “House” prepare for the Capulets party where Romeo meets Juliet. Throughout we can see in the zoom windows the other voyeurs, some in masks, as they too try to work out what is going on. 

Monday, 30 December 2019

10 Plays we can't wait for in 2020

The Watsons at the Harold Pinter Theatre

Following sold-out runs at both Chichester Festival Theatre and the Menier Chocolate Factory, Laura Wade’s The Watsons transfers to the West End in 2020. Directed by Samuel West, The Watsons played to critical acclaim at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2018 and at the Menier in 2019. 

Coming Clean at the Trafalgar Studios 

Following a critically-acclaimed, sell-out run, the smash-hit play by Kevin Elyot, writer of the landmark drama My Night With Reg, returns to Trafalgar Studios 2 in January for a strictly limited four week season. Tony and Greg seem to have love all figured out. They’re in a committed relationship but with room for a little more on the side whenever it takes their fancy. The only rule? Never sleep with the same man twice. 

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

REVIEW: Sh*tfaced Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Leicester Square Theatre

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept of Sh*tfaced Shakespeare, it’s really quite simple. In a company of five actors, one is chosen at random before the evening’s performance to get outrageously drunk before taking to the stage. Sh*tfaced Shakespeare declare in any given week, no performer is ever asked to drink on consecutive nights. In addition they are never required to drink more than four times in the course of one month. (They proudly acknowledge that this means they are the probably most sober cast of performers in the West End!) It’s then up to the talented cast of actors surrounding the one drunk performer to try and keep the show running as smoothly as possible. At the Press Night for Romeo and Juliet, it was Beth-Louise Priestley’s ‘Juliet’ who had taken to the gin and lager and little too hard before curtain up. 

Can we be at all surprised with the concept like this that the show did not run smoothly? Juliet forgot to call her beau Romeo, but instead referred to him as Richard (the actor’s name) throughout the show. She wobbled atop her balcony and leant over the edges so brashly, my heart almost stopped. She licked people’s noses. She wrestled with curtains. She spat out her drink laughing at her costars jokes. She was also flagged down by the compère for “dangerous behaviour” and had her dagger taken from her and was instead handed a large stuffed toy snake (which she proceeded to use to re-enact Britney Spears’ iconic “I’m A Slave For U” performance. As the show was beginning to come to the dramatic close, she sprung up from bed to declare “I’m not dead yet!” and skipped off the stage...! 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet at Sadler's Wells

I’m a big theatre fan, which means that I mostly look out for what plays are showing in London. Recently however, I’ve started to notice dance shows as well, and for example the exciting dance companies coming to Sadler’s Wells in the next few months.
The latest show to open at the Peacock Theatre is Romeo and Juliet, directed by Rasta Thomas and choreographed by Adrienne Canterna, creators of the dance sensation Rock the Ballet. What is unique is that they’ve used their innovative style to tell the timeless tale of star crossed lovers. The all-American company invites us to an evening of fun filled with classical (Vivaldi) and contemporary pop tunes that make you transition from tears to laughs.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Rose Theatre Kingston announces full cast for ROMEO AND JULIET

Executive Producer Jerry Gunn today announces full casting for the company’s production of Shakespeare’sRomeo + JulietSally Cookson returns to theatre to direct Sharon D Clarke (Nurse), Matt Costain(Paris/Prince), Chris Bianchi (Friar Lawrence/ Montague), Audrey Brisson (Juliet), Joseph Drake (Romeo),Laura Elphinstone (Mercutio), Felix Hayes (Tybalt) and Javier Marzan (Peter). The production opens on 4 March, with previews from 28 February, and runs until 14 March.

Chief Executive of Rose Theatre Kingston Robert O’Dowd said today, “I am thrilled to welcome Sally Cookson back to the Rose. She is a glorious collaborator – a joy to have in the building, and an extraordinary director with an incredible visual flair. Reunited with the team behind Hetty Feather, I cannot wait to see what they will bring to Romeo + Juliet.”

By turns lyrical, seductive and hot-blooded, this is the explosive story of an intense passion between the children of sworn enemies. Risking everything to be together, their tragedy is played out in a divided city where lives are ruled by secrets and fear.

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